7.4/10
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52 user 68 critic

Medium Cool (1969)

A TV news reporter finds himself becoming personally involved in the violence that erupts around the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Director:

Haskell Wexler

Writer:

Haskell Wexler
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On Disc

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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Forster ... John Cassellis
Verna Bloom ... Eileen
Peter Bonerz ... Gus
Marianna Hill ... Ruth
Harold Blankenship Harold Blankenship ... Harold
Charles Geary Charles Geary ... Harold's Father
Sid McCoy Sid McCoy ... Frank Baker
Christine Bergstrom Christine Bergstrom ... Dede
William Sickingen William Sickingen ... News Director
Robert McAndrew ... Pennybaker
Marrian Walters ... Social Worker
Beverly Younger Beverly Younger ... Rich Lady
Edward Croke Edward Croke ... Plain-clothesman
Doug Kimball Doug Kimball ... Newscaster
Peter Boyle ... Gun Clinic Manager
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Storyline

John Cassellis is the toughest TV-news reporter around. His area of interest is reporting about violence in the ghetto and racial tensions. But he discovers that his network helps the FBI by letting it look at his tapes to find suspects. When he protests, he is fired and goes to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Beyond the age of innocence... into the age of awareness See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 February 1970 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Concrete Wilderness See more »

Filming Locations:

Illinois, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

H & J See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The line "Look out, Haskell, it's real!" was actually dubbed in after the shooting. It was supposedly what Haskell Wexler was thinking to himself and he wanted to include it. See more »

Goofs

When Eileen enters the L looks for Harold, she is wearing a white hair band, but when they show her sitting on the L, the hair band is missing. See more »

Quotes

John Cassellis: Better call an ambulance.
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Crazy Credits

In keeping with the film's documentary style, the cast is not listed during the opening credits, only in the ending credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

Due to copyright disputes, all video releases feature some different songs on the soundtrack from the theatrical version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Mom and Dad
(uncredited)
Written by Frank Zappa
Performed by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
Played when Eileen is first wandering in the park looking for Harold
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User Reviews

 
A groundbreaker
20 January 1999 | by meeblySee all my reviews

Haskell Wexler, a cinematographer by trade, practically invented the technique invented we know today as "cinema verite" with this striking drama that plays so much like a documentary, you'd never guess it was fiction without being told. It's less a story and more a voyeuristic look into the lives of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, in this case reporters who are covering a political convention and other Chicago locals who are just minding their own business when the legendary riots break out at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Even more groundbreaking is the approach Wexler takes in framing the film's final scenes. He had ample warning that there would potentially be some unrest at the convention, so he decided to thrust his cast right into the thick of it, sending them to the foyer and front entrance of the Chicago Convention Center and the crew right along to film the events. No one knew exactly what would happen, making this perhaps the most creative and timely piece of "improvised" drama in the history of filmmaking up to this point.

Every documentary filmmaker who chooses to make his/her film about actions and events rather than simply a bunch of talking heads owes a debt to Wexler and his creative team on "Medium Cool".


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